Seeking the Blessing

There is a certain Irish guilt in me that eschews any comfort. So tonight when among my closest friends it took me hours to break down. My soul did not ask for their blessing or benefication or any their forgiveness. what my former faith expects. Instead, I needed their benefication, their meeting of blessing and approval and support, their reassurance that I am not alone,

Sp today, and through this season, I ask of you:
-ask not what god your brother or sister worships
=ask not what your brother or sister has
Ask instead

What can I do for others that gives me nothing in return.

5 Easy Peasy Photo Gifts

It’s not too late to give the gift everyone loves: their favorite faces or places on a gift. I love giving photo gifts because they fit everyone and everyone is sure NOT to have it! But my laziness gets in the way and I end up dropping the ball. Which is why these photo gifts are so awesome: they are a SNAP to make!

Five Easy Photo Gifts
[Read more…]

Everything Passes

I wrote this post as part of my participation in a blog tour for The Motherhood on behalf of the makers of Children’s MOTRIN® and received compensation to thank me for taking the time to participate. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

This month I have been sharing some of our holiday traditions. It was especially important for me to make this season special because our Christmas last year was so hard. We went into the winter break worried for our daughter. She was having a tough time at school and home and we were at a loss at how to help her. Parenthood is hardest for me when there isn’t a clear answer. Or even an understanding of the situation.

Unfortunately, we also had an emotional upheaval over the holiday so by the time we limped into the new year we all felt bruised and frankly fractured as a family. It took months for us to put us back together. We made big changes like switching schools and readjusting how we spend time together. For the first time ever we took a long trip together as a family.

Things aren’t perfect, we are most certainly still a work in progress as a family. But I have found a certain grace in the tough times we had in 2014. If nothing else, it has retaught me that “this too shall pass.” I have found my solace in parenthood time and time again in that stock phrase.

The first time I understand, as a mother, that everything passes was one afternoon when I was pouring apple juice for my daughters. You see for years I couldn’t even enter the juice aisle at the store. Just the smell of apple juice made my stomach curdle.

When I was ten my younger sister drowned. Her favorite thing was apple juice. So much that it seemed to emanate from her pores. Water didn’t bother me in the least, not even swimming in the pool she drowned in. But the scent of apple juice made me shiver.

Then came the day I was pouring it without a second thought. Time can’t ever make us forget but it can heal us. This too shall pass and you will muddle through. You’re a mother and there’s nothing you can’t take on.

I want to thank the the makers of Children’s MOTRIN® for sponsoring this Unstoppable Moms campaign. It’s been wonderful to reflect and to share some of my musts and tips. Be sure to share your own unstoppable tips on the MOTRIN® Facebook page. There are weekly drawings for $100 gift cards and every tip shared triggers $1 donation to Safe Kids.

This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Ten minutes ago I was sobbing in the car. Granted it has been an emotional morning with a friend losing a parent. But when I heard the descriptions of Eric Garner’s last moments alive being described on Democracy Now, a part of me broke. It seems unreal that this is 2014.

Indict the System Black Lives Matter
On Tuesday a friend asked people to attend the student rally on the Mizzou campus. It was both heartening and disheartening. For me, as someone who is twenty years out of college, it was impressive and inspiring to see what students has organized and to hear their voices. But it was incredibly depressing to hear them talk about the micro aggressions and discrimination they experience on a daily basis.

The leader read a Mizzou themed list calling out White Privilege. To say that some of the facts she shared were eye opening is an understatement. Time and time again I heard the speakers say that you need to check your privilege at the door. Sometimes we need to shut up and listen and this is that time. When I see people say they don’t understand the fear of police, the discrimination, I have to wonder do you not believe what your friends say? What these students say? What your fellow citizens say?

Listen. Listen to understand.

The last speaker on Monday chided the allies in the audience saying it wasn’t enough to show up and just say you are an ally. You have to earn that right. In a sense I disagree with her. Because I think it needs to be taken further.

It is not enough to call yourself an ally. An ally is someone who joins in to give support to a cause but this is not just a cause we can say is someone else’s. When our friends and family tell us they feel like second class citizens, it’s becomes our problem. When our fellow citizens are being shot and and choked to death, it is not someone else’s cause. It is every American’s cause.

The rally ended with linked hands and a repeating of intentions. I am paraphrasing but it began with “it is out duty to fight for our rights and it is our duty to win.” And it is my duty, and yours, and every one’s to not let this die. It is our duty to speak up, to act out, and to make the change.

We are part of the problem and we must be part of the solution. The protest chant goes “Show them what democracy looks like.” It’s time to really show what democracy looks like.

Christmas Card Time

I love Christmas cards. There I said it. I love seeing everyone’s pictures. I love reading the letters, even the braggy ones. I love everything about them! One of my favorite things to do upon coming home when I was a wild unmarried single girl was to dive into my parents’ pile of cards and read about relatives and family friends.

And now that I have a family of my own, I love making ours every year. And even more than that I love pulling out previous year’s cards and looking through them with the girls. They love seeing themselves as babies and toddlers and

If you haven’t made cards, get to it! Don’t wait for the perfect card or the perfect picture, just make them, buy them, whatever. The most important thing is sending them. This year we were given the chance to make our own cards through Minted (watch my Instagram as I will be sharing them there) and they have given me a $150 gift certificate for one of your to put towards your own cards or a gift. Minted has cards that go beyond just a picture. You can send a story or an ornament or Check out their line and enter below.
[Read more…]

Watch : Monkey Kingdom Trailer

Monkey Kingdom
I just love all the nature films Disney has started producing. They are engaging and educational. I can’t wait to take my girls to see Monkey Kingdom. Because monkeys are the coolest! And for every ticket sold opening week (April 17-23, 2015), Disneynature will make a donation to Conservation International to help protect monkeys and other endangered species in their natural habitats.

Check out the trailer below…
[Read more…]

A Northpole Breakfast

Its’ December first and I am sharing our “Welcome to the Christmas Season” breakfast in a compensated partnership with #CollectiveBias and Hallmark‘s #NorthpoleFun collection. The opinions are all my own though! Over the next twelve days, I will be sharing the traditions that make our Christmas special.

Northpole Breakfast

This breakfast is such a fun way to start the season. It’s the first school day after Thanksgiving and the first time we put our Christmas dishes on the table. This year it’s all about Santa and the Northpole (I am soaking up these last years of believing as long as possible!) Here is how it all came together…
[Read more…]

12 Days of Christmas Traditions

Family Holiday Traditions
This holiday season I wanted to share some of the traditions we have, especially since we are a non traditional Christmas family! These twelve traditions are ones we have developed as a couple and as a family. They help make the season more special and more meaningful for us. Most importantly, they bring us together as a family.

You can click through to see our list and I would love to hear what you consider to be a holiday tradition. After all, there is always room for a new tradition!
[Read more…]

Giving Back on Giving Tuesday

Yesterday was the first Black Friday in a long time where I bought NOTHING. I have never been one to get up at three am but since we had the girls, I have found myself sucked into causal shopping where I usually end up buying things I hadn’t planned on. I actually think it can be a great day to score deals and god knows, I love shopping. But during the holiday season, it’s really easy to get caught up in the rush of gift giving and forget about just giving.

which is why I was thrilled when offered the chance to partner with Give Forward for a sponsored post on Giving Tuesday.
Giving Tuesday with Give Forward
If you’re not familiar with Giving Tuesday, read on for what it is about and how Give Forward fits into the Giving Tuesday mission.
[Read more…]

The Family Dinner Project

This post is a compensated editorial partnership with The Family Dinner Project. All storytelling and opinions are, of course, my own.

The Family Dinner Project

As we go into the holidays one thing I want to remember to do among all the hustle and bustle is continue to sit down to dinner as a family. This year we are really working on creating our own holiday traditions as a family. But just as important are the small moments that happen, like sitting down together as a family for dinner.

Before I became a mom I thought these dinners would be Norman Rockwellish. The children would help me cook. We would all sit down together and discuss our days as we savored our food. In reality, it’s more like a combo of a fast food restaurant (the family is done with my home cooking in less time than most people spend ordering at McD) and amateur night (the girls are REALLY into knock knock jokes.)

But I still know it’s making a difference in our connection. Even if it’s fifteen minutes a day, we are all together and focused on each other. That focus is why I am happy to be spreading the word about the Family Dinner Project. The Family Dinner Project’s mission is to inspire families to enjoy food, fun, and conversation together. It’s about returning to a simpler and more meaningful way of being.
[Read more…]